Dear Members and Friends of St. John’s,
This Sunday, we CELEBRATE PENTECOST, the great climax of the Easter to Pentecost season. Liturgically, the Day of Pentecost completes the cycle that began with Ash Wednesday and continued through Lent and Holy Week and into Eastertide. It is the capstone of a liturgical journey that moves symbolically from ashes to fire. Pentecost sums up the Gospel with simplicity and audacity with this proclamation:
Jesus Christ offers salvation to all, and the church exists to proclaim it!
We mark this special occasion in our church year at St. John’s by wearing red to church if possible. The Day of Pentecost is often called “the birthday of the church.” The words from the Book of Acts, Chapter 2, verses 1-4, tell us about that that day:
“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.”
The Pentecost story is a breathtaking reversal of the story of Babel, when proud humanity was divided by the plurality of languages (Gen. 11:1-9). Pentecost represents the inbreaking of God’s purposes for all humanity, bringing humanity together in understanding, despite their differences.
Pentecost 2018, the birth of the church anew, is an especially poignant celebration for us this year as we honor and conclude Pastor Rachael’s authorized ministry with St. John’s.
Pastor Rachael has concluded a time of spiritual discernment about her call in ministry, deciding to focus on counseling ministry rather than parish ministry. Earlier this year, Pastor Rachael accepted a half time counseling position in Fairfield County to be closer to extended family and to discern the focus of her call, following her ordination in the United Church of Christ in January. She recently resigned her position as the Assistant Pastor of St. John’s, and Pentecost will be her last Sunday at St. John’s.
So please join us in warmly celebrating Pastor Rachael’s journey with us on May 20th –a learning journey from seminary student, to Youth Pastor, to Assistant Pastor, to Rachael’s ordination a few months ago in the United Church of Christ in her home church, First Congregational Church of Columbus.
It is times like these that I am reminded of those liminal moments that Poet T.S. Eliot calls “intersection time.” As the poet wrote:
What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.
Fare forward, you who think that you are voyaging;
You are not those who saw the harbour
Receding, or those who will disembark.
Here, between the hither and the farther shore
While time is withdrawn,
consider the future
And the past
with an equal mind…
As we say not “farewell,”
But “fare forward.”
So join us in wishing Pastor Rachael “fare forward” in her new endeavors! Our Covenantal Elder in the United Church of Christ, Marilyn Lloyd, will be present as we participate in a special litany recognizing and honoring the end of Pastor Rachael’s authorized ministry with St. John’s and wish her well in her new counseling ministry.
In abundant hope for our shared future,